Need help: Kettle with bottom drain

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BrewdyQuah

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I'm interested in designing and building my own electric all in one system (after all, why buy a good one for $400 when I can build a shoddy one for $1,200).

My current tun is bottom draining (SSBrewtech) and I have always liked the benefits that it provides (no lost liquid to account for, no internal pick-up piping to get in the way, etc). Because of the benefits, I'd like to build my new system to use a bottom draining 10G+ SS vessel as its foundation.

I have done some searches, but have not been able to find any kettles/pots that come with a true center bottom drain. Am I missing any offerings? And if not, has anyone had luck in modifying a kettle into a bottom drain system?

Thanks!
 

Bobby_M

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Agreed that it's a gap in the market. Stout sells some bottom drain kettles but increase your budget if you dare look that way.

Debulking a 1/2BBL sanke keg could work as it does have a dished bottom for full draining but I don't think I'd go that way.

You don't necessarily stick to a dished center drain. A TC based bottom drain at the bottom of a regular kettle, placed close to the sidewall can work with just a 1% tilt in the kettle towards the drain. You just have to avoid brands that use triclad thick bottoms.
 
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BrewdyQuah

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Thank you @Bobby_M ,@Bassman2003

Bobby, I'm thinking about using your pull through with the 1/2" M/F NPT Bulkhead near the sidewall. That will give me internal threads if I want to create some sort of filter, plus the external threads on the bottom to continue the drain system. I know I would want to steer clear from tri-clad bottom pots.

Do you think I could achieve fairly good results with this approach? Would it be hard to get a fairly level drain system (my soldering skills are so-so) using the pull through?
 

bruce_the_loon

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Choices are limited to heat a bottom drain kettle. No Induction or anything on the bottom. A Blichmann boil coil would work.
Question from ignorance on induction heating here. Is it simply the presence of the bottom drain leading to the kettle not being able to sit on the induction plate or does the drilling through the base of the kettle damage something?

If it is the former, then I wonder if a custom induction heater base with a hole for the drain port would work. There was that chap that built a 5kW induction heater for his all-in-one system. Meet Thing 1. A 5Kw Induction All In One...
 
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BrewdyQuah

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Bruce, thanks for the link. That is an impressive build!

To answer your question, I believe it to be the former. I intend to go with an internal heating element, so I will not have to build a custom induction system. But it is an interesting idea!

The only challenge with drilling/welding/soldering holes in the bottom of kettles is that quite a few of the better quality kettles are built with tri-clad bottoms. tri-clad doesn't really benefit electric brewers who use internal heating elements, and success in drilling through these bottoms and welding to them has very mixed results in terms of success (from what I have read).
 

Bassman2003

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I do not know about the induction heat and holes. I can imagine the tech support people at the induction burner company - "some guy wants to drill a hole in the induction burner plate...?" Sounds like a very hombrew thing to do!

I think bottom drain needs to have some kind of slope towards the center which puts the bottom on an angle. Tough for anything other than a heating element on the inside or RIMS/HERMS.
 

Bobby_M

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Thank you @Bobby_M ,@Bassman2003

Bobby, I'm thinking about using your pull through with the 1/2" M/F NPT Bulkhead near the sidewall. That will give me internal threads if I want to create some sort of filter, plus the external threads on the bottom to continue the drain system. I know I would want to steer clear from tri-clad bottom pots.

Do you think I could achieve fairly good results with this approach? Would it be hard to get a fairly level drain system (my soldering skills are so-so) using the pull through?

Yes, you can actually pull that fitting so that it's about 1/32" below the inside surface so it will fully drain.
 

BigDave1303

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Wouldn't having a hole in the centre of the bottom prevent you from doing a whirlpool as this is where everything need to settle out?
 
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BrewdyQuah

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Thanks for the feedback folks. I should have clarified when I mentioned going electric - I plan on going with an internal heating element, and not an induction heat source.

To the second point, after more research, the "center" bottom drain may not be ideal because of the whirlpooling. It seems that the optimal spot for the drain is closer to the vessel sidewall.
 
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